Can eating certain fish help you live longer?
A recent study found that adults with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids tended to live longer than those with lower levels. The study, released by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine online, found that older adults could lower their “overall mortality risk by as much as 27 percent and their mortality risk from heart disease by about 35 percent” by consuming foods rich in omega-3s, including fatty fish and seafood.
“We’ve long known about the heart-health benefits of omega-3,” says Dr. Robert Koch, a cardiologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Electrophysiological research shows that certain fish oils penetrate the heart muscle cell to create a calming effect and prevent the electrical storm that often accompanies the heart attack of a clogged artery.”
This new study, however, sought to examine the overall impact of omega-3 fatty acids on mortality. Researchers looked at a long-term study, which encompassed 16 years’ worth of data and nearly 2,700 U.S. adults who were 65 years of age and older, and found that study participants with the highest levels of fatty acids enjoyed a 27 percent lower risk of death overall—not just due to heart disease.
What kinds of fish are best to consume to get the maximum omega-3 benefits? Dr. Koch recommends, “To get the recommended 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids, you would need to eat one to two servings of salmon, four to seven servings of cod, or four servings of shrimp per day.”
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